What is the prognosis of persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)?

Updated: Oct 01, 2019
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

Dysthymia is by definition chronic. Periods of depression or euthymia may occur during the course of the illness. A systematic review of epidemiologic studies found that 46–71% of persons with dysthymia reported remission at follow-up points ranging from 1–6 years.

Comorbidities, such as anxiety disorders and depressive personality disorder, are associated with lower recovery rates. [11, 12, 13, 14] Chronic stress is associated with more severe symptoms and a lower likelihood of recovery. [13]

With adequate treatment, substantial, prolonged improvement can be expected in most patients. Emphasis is increasing on the importance of striving for remission, rather than response, when treating depressive disorders, as is the strategy with other mood disorders. [15, 16]


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